HSS Report Projects further decline in HIV Infections and Deaths with ART

New infections and deaths among persons living with HIV are expected to decline with improved access to Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) and Prevention of Mother-To- Child Transmission (PMTCT).

More persons living with HIV will need ART and Co-trimoxazole prophylaxis, but the demand for these medications in children is expected to decline, as the risk of PMTCT of HIV would be reduced through improved interventions.

The 2013 HIV Sentinel Survey (HSS) and the National HIV Prevalence and Estimates Report, which gave these projections, had also projected that AIDS deaths among children and AIDS orphans would reduce over time as PMTCT services improves.

Speaking at a meeting to release the 2013 HSS report in Accra on Tuesday, Dr Stephen Ayisi Addo, Acting Programme Manager of the National AIDS Control Programme of the Ghana Health Service, explained that HIV population would increase cumulatively.

He said, it would however, slow due to an overall decline in prevalence and new infections with a proportionate increase in the need for ART.

The HSS is a cross-sectional survey, targeting pregnant women who attend ante-natal clinics in selected sites in Ghana.

In the last six years, it has being the source of primary data for the estimation and projection of the HIV and AIDS impact of the general population of the country. The 2013 survey is the 22nd since its inception.

According to the report, HIV prevalence and incidence are expected to drop gradually from 1.30 per cent and 0.04 per cent in 2013, to 0.99 per cent and 0.01 per cent in 2020 respectively.

He explained that the expected decline in HIV population would be steeper in children from zero to 14 years, compared to adults of 15 to 49years, due to an expected reduction in new child infections through PMTCT.

Deaths are likely to occur among clients who are not on ART than those on ART and from 2016-2020, it is projected that death among clients not on ART will be fewer than those on ART.

Coverage for ART of all eligible adults from 15 years and above is expected to hit 98 per cent by 2020 and the projection of ART coverage for children from zero to 14 years is projected to be 100 per cent.

Dr Ayisi Addo noted that the number of new infections due to mother-to-child transmission will decline gradually in 2020, whilst deaths averted by ART are projected to peak in 2016 before gradually decreasing progressively to 2020.

Deaths averted by ART in children from zero to four years, are expected to rise gradually, and then suddenly jump from 2014 to 2015 of which it will gradually rise again to 2020.

“The expected increment in death to be averted by ART and Co-trimoxazole in post 2015 will largely be due to improved PMTCT and paediatric ART coverage and interventions following the implementation of the new WHO recommendations,” he added.

He called for more resources, and hard work, to sustain the national response to HIV and AIDS and progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. GNA

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